Archive for September, 2009

Taking responsibility for our pets

I have been thinking a lot lately about what I have learned by my dogs and then, while surfing, I see that Cesar Millan is also thinking these thoughts. I like what he’s written here about how living with dogs teaches us how to have a healthy and mutual relationship. So often people view their problems with their dogs as their dog’s problems! My number one goal in working with these people is helping them see their dog’s needs as valid and necessary to attend to.

We decide to take on a dog as a pet and companion and therefore we (whether consciously or not) also take on the responsibility for meeting all their needs – for exercise, stimulation, work, friendship, play, food, shelter, all of it. And it doesn’t matter whether you work full time or don’t have the money – this is irrelevant to the responsibility of stewardship. Just as we are responsible for taking care of the people we bring into this world, we are also responsible to the animals we bring into our homes. And, yes, those of us who take this seriously are often ridiculed by those who don’t have pets or who don’t take this responsibility seriously. I have actually said these words, “No, I can’t ____ because I have to get home and take care of the dogs/puppies/bird.”  We have to prioritize our responsibilities to the animals in our care. And when we do, suddenly their behavior improves and our connection with them deepens. Amazing, huh?

What Our Dogs Can Teach Us – Cesar Millan

Cesar Milan - How To Raise the Perfect DogWhen humans bring a dog into their lives, they are most often looking for a companion; what they may not realize is that they are getting a teacher as well.

One of the most valuable lessons my dogs have taught me is how to have a healthy relationship. In any relationship – human-canine, human-human, human-pachyderm you cannot have the bond you are looking for unless you fulfill the others’ needs. If you’re not giving your dog what he requires, he’ll let you know by chewing your shoes, jumping up on your guests, pulling on the walk, or one of many other behavior problems. It’s not malicious. He’s just finding another way to meet the needs programmed in him by Mother Nature. In order to fulfill one another, we need to look outside ourselves and really understand what the other needs and how their psychology works. That’s the foundation for a balanced, healthy relationship with any species.

But that’s not all dogs have to teach us. They educate us about the value of consistency. If you apply Exercise, Discipline, then Affection every day without fail, your dog will reward you with loyal companionship. And they show us how to live life to the fullest by being ba lanced and celebrating every moment.

Through my pack, I have experience birth, life, and death, and they have shared fundamental lessons about going through this natural life cycle. How do they pass from one phase to the next? How do they stay together all their lives as a family? They have taught me to value the simplicity of life itself. They intensify every moment that I am with them. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Stay calm and assertive!
Cesar Millan

Dealing with dog Separation Anxiety

Here is a note I received from Chloe‘s new family, followed by my response to their separation anxiety issue:

sweet ChloeMy parents are the proud adoptive parents of Chloe! I am their daughter and live 5 blocks away and I love Chloe too! She has taken to my mom and dad easily. They are active seniors who stay home a lot. I am at their house often. Chloe is doing well and is adjusting quite well to her new home. She is a wonderful dog!!!!! Very smart!

She has only been with them for 4 days. During that time, the only thing we may need some advice on is helping her to separate when my parents leave the house together to go out for breakfast. They are only gone a couple of hours once a week. She has the run of the house. Chloe whines and howls when they are gone. She is not destructive in any way. Is there any way we can help her through this?

Thank you SO much for the update on Chloe! I know many of my readers will be thrilled to hear that she is doing well in your parents’ home. I became really attached to her and would have kept her had my home and heart not been full already, so your words were a comfort to me.

Chloe has been through an incredible amount of change in the past 4 months. She was taken from a hoarders’ home with her 7, one-month old puppies and placed in a shelter for a couple of days. Then she was transported from southern IL to my home where she lived with her pups for another month. On a single day her pups all went to their new homes and was taken to her new (more…)

Photos of Jessa

JessaHere some photos of Jessa, with an update on her progress:

Jessa‘s been doing really well. Practically no accidents and overall, she seems very happy. We’re having such a good time with her. The correctly sized Easy Walk harness arrived today, so we’re going to start her walking with that (quick question, should we take the harness off when she’s in the house? It doesn’t look like the most comfortable thing to hang around in). All in all, she’s doing great!

Thank you again for all of your help!!

p.s. One of the photos is of her chewing on a Cesar Milan book. Thought that was kind of funny…

jessachewingcesarKristin’s reponse:
I am SO happy to hear that things continue to go well. See, you can do it!! I am proud of the work you’ve done with her and her happiness is something to savor…You deserve how good it feels to see her happiness.
Also, you are right that she should not be in her harness full time. Just put it on her for walks or when you are training her or need her under control (to and from the car, for example).
Thanks for the update!

Update on Jackson

Here is an update on Jackson (formerly Jacob of Chloe‘s litter)…

JacksonIt’s been a while, so I thought I would give everyone a quick update on how Jackson is doing. He has grown to be quite the big boy, weighing in at about 40 pounds at 18 weeks. He really doesn’t look that big, I guess he’s just solid. He is still good natured and loves to see new people and places. He used to cry and whine in the car, but now he goes and sits next to the van sometimes and is happy to go just about anywhere with us.

He loves playing outside, and lately he can spend a lot of time romping in the yard trying to chase moths. He has recently gone through a phase of hiding his bones & rawhides outside. If we are in the house he will sit by the door and whine softly. When we take him out he runs to the base of a tree, sets the rawhide down, then with his paws he digs a hole in the mulch. Then he’ll pick the rawide back up and gently put it in the hole and press it in with his nose. Then, using his nose again, not his paws, he covers up the rawhide and fills the hole. It’s pretty interesting to watch.

Yesterday he got his “big snip” at the vet’s office, so there won’t be any little Jackson’s running around in the future. They sent us home with a cone so he can’t lick his stitches, but it is WAY too big for him, so on the advice of a friend we fitted him with a custom t-shirt which I put over his head, his front legs through the sleeves, and then gather up the shirt over his butt and between his back legs and rubberband it off on one side of his tail. We have to undo it every time we take him outside to go, but it does keep him from getting to that area, and it is much more comfortable than the dreaded cone.

He is slowly getting used to the back to school routine, but hates to see the boys leave in the morning. I hope you and your pups are all doing well.